Technology & Differentiation

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Five Key Considerations for Meaningful Differentiation with Technology

Tracy Sockalosky, a middle school teacher from Natick, MA has, in our opinion, summed up differentiation using technology in her blog, Learning, Teaching & Technology. Below are her 5 considerations for meaningful differentiation with technology. I highly recommend that you read her entire blog post here.

1. Start with the learning goal.

2. Consider assessment before assignment expectations.

3. Ensure that differentiation is invisible.

4. Don’t recreate the wheel.

5. Maximize flexibility to increase access and engagement.

Differentiation with Digital Tools

Our friend, Anthony Mason posted the following:
By giving students a choice and a voice in their learning, teachers can begin to use digital tools to differentiate teaching and learning. Include students in questions like:
  • What do you want to learn?
  • How do you want to learn it?
  • Where do you want to learn it?
  • Who will you learn it with?
  • How will you show that you've learned it?
  • What will you use to show you've learned it?
  • What can you create to show your learning?
  • Why is important to learn this?
  • What are the transferable skills?

Follow Mr. Mason for more ed tech ideas - @EdTechMason!

Share Your Ideas

Open this Padlet, click on the red plus sign and share with the audience how you are using technology to differentiate instruction in your classroom.

Giving Students Choices

Today's technology tools can provide teachers with the ability to give their students choices when assigning projects. Every student may not have the same apps as their classmates, so instead of requiring the students to use a particular app or website, why not give them a choice? You will find that student engagement and creativity will increase when students are given the freedom to use different tools to deliver content.

Here are three examples of a project about President John F. Kennedy. The examples contain the same content, however, the information is presented in a different format in each project.

Sources for JFK Presentations


Examples of assignments that give students choices:

Tic Tac Techo

Science Tic Tech Toe Board 1 - by Misty Whitworth & Julie Lyle, Argyle ISD

Science Tic Tech Toe Board 2 - by Misty Whitworth & Julie Lyle, Argyle ISD

Choice Board

Digital Choice Board Reading
Interactive Learning Menus (Choice Boards) with G Suite – FREE Templates by Kasey Bell


Using Choice Boards to Increase Student Ownership

Liven Up Your Lessons by Giving Students Choices

Empowering Students: Add Choice to Assignments


Newsela is an online news-as-literacy platform that includes current articles in seven categories: War & Peace, Science, Health, Kids, Money, Law, and Arts. The articles are Common Core-aligned and available in five Lexile levels. Each leveled text includes a quiz and a writing prompt about the article.

Quick Start Guide for Teachers
Newsela Worksheet

Differentiation in a Snap with Newsela

Tween Tribune

Tween Tribune by the Smithsonian offers Twice-daily AP news articles that are Lexile leveled for K-12 students and include self-scoring quizzes customized by Lexile level and Critical thinking questions.

That Quiz

That Quiz allows you to create free, online mathematical quizzes for all grade levels.

For directions on how to effectively use That Quiz, check out Mathy Cathy's Blog post.

Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark is a free IOS App or website that includes 3 tools that allow the user to easily create beautiful web stories, animated videos and social media graphics that can be read on any device. Images used in the presentations can be from the camera roll or from a Creative Commons image search within the app. The images found in the Creative Commons search are automatically cited.

Check out this Spark Video by Oskar Cymerman to see what Adobe Spark can do for you and your students.

The Colorado River

Professional Resume'

Graffiti and Street Art

Online Portfolio

Composition Techniques

Adobe Spark Video - allows you to create a video slideshow—complete with sound and narration.


Where Are You Going?

The New SAT

Save the Environment

Making Ammonia

Student Book Report

Invitation to High School Open House

Joe Dockery's Tips

  • Find a quiet place for your students to record their audio (spread out!)
  • Have them write out a script.
  • Keep the scripts short and to the point (proof it and give feedback)
  • Ask them to brainstorm icons and photos to go along with each topic
  • Break long sentences or ideas into chunks with an image for each idea
  • Listen to each recording and re-record if necessary
  • If students are doing it individually, use headsets


Teacher Testimonial - Adobe Slate: Empower Students

A Guide for Schools and Educators

3 Ways Adobe Spark Promotes Creativity in the Classroom

Adobe Spark Activities for Elementary Students

Animoto for Education

Animoto for Education is one of the original sites that allow you to create videos from your photos, videos and audio files. Your students will find many creative ways to use this program! Make sure you go to Animoto education because teachers don’t have to pay to use Animoto! Create a regular Animoto account and then go to the Animoto for Education site to apply for the Educator account.



Holes Book Trailer

Spanish I


Quizizz is very similar to Kahoot, except the questions appear on the students' devices.
Let's try it out!

  • On your device or laptop, open
  • Click Join a Game.
  • Enter the Game Code the teacher provides and click Go.
  • Type in your name and click Join Game.
  • Wait for the teacher to begin the game.

Good Luck!

WOW - Quizizz can now read the questions and answers to your students! This is currently only available on IOS devices, but they are working to expand this feature to other devices.

John Spencer - The Creative Classroom and Write About

John Spencer, a former middle school teacher and current college professor, creates writing prompts in what he calls "Sketchy Videos". His videos can be found on this YouTube playlist and directions for creating the videos can be found on John's blog. We found the videos to be a great way to engage students in the writing process, but why not take it one step further and have the students use an animation app or program to create their own writing prompts that can be shared with their classmates?

The Write About website is an online tool that allows students to write for an audience and gives teachers the ability to provide feedback. There is a bank of writing prompts categorized by grade level and category or by grade level and genre. Teachers can also add to the bank of prompts. There are different pricing levels for the site, but the free version is a great place to begin or to use for writing prompt ideas.

Be sure and check out John's website for more great ideas for the creative classroom!


NoRedInk allows students to practice grammar using interactive exercises. Great for differentiation!


Wordle is a free online tool for creating word clouds from text you type or copy and paste. into the site.
This tool is great for brainstorming, however, our favorite way to use it is to have students copy and paste their essays into Wordle and then they will see a visual representation of the the words they have used. If a word or words appear very large, they need to find synonyms to replace them.
The Word Clouds App is a comparable tool for iPad users.

Read Write Think Student Interactives

Read Write Think Student Interactives

The Read Write Think website includes over 50 student interactives to be used on computers. Many of the interactives are also available as apps.
Student Interactives - online literacy learning tools

Cube Creator - helps students to learn the skill of summarizing

Trading Cards - create trading cards for any number of categories
Timeline - create a graphical representation of an event or process by displaying items sequentially along a line

Spelling City

Spelling City allow you to create individualized lists for students and allow choice of activities for practice.


In Storybird Students select artwork and write a story or poem related to the images. Storybird lets anyone make visual stories in seconds. Artwork is curated from illustrators and animators around the world and will inspire writers of any age to turn those into fresh stories.


Using EdPuzzle with your students will provide more time for differentiation in the classroom. It quickly shows you which students have mastered the information and are ready to move on.

Differentiation in the Google Classroom

Excellent articles by Kasey Bell (@ShakeUpLearning)

Digital Differentiation with Google Classroom

How to Differentiate Questions with Google Forms


HyperDocs is a digital method utilizing Google Docs to deliver instruction. Students can work independently at their own pace, which gives the teacher more time to work with individual students or small groups. This website includes instructions for creating HyperDocs, templates and tons of teacher-created lessons for all subject areas and grade levels.

3 Ways to Differentiate Learning in the Classroom with HyperDocs

Differentiating with HyperDocs

HyperDocs & Self-Paced Learning

Google Classroom - A Differentiation Strategy

Symbaloo Lesson Plans

Personalized learning experiences for your students. Create your own or search for lessons created by other educators. Videos, documents, tests and educational games can be a part of the lesson.

*Try a lesson

*Add to your account

*Lesson code for students for tracking progress

*Different types of questions

Symbaloo Lesson Plans

What is Energy?


BlendSpace by TES can be used to differentiate instruction because it allows you to create personalized lessons with different online materials and assessments. The following digital files and content can be added:
  • TES resources
  • YouTube
  • Links
  • PDFs
  • PowerPoint
  • Word Doc
  • Images
  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
Blendspace Tutorial
Differentiation with BlendSpace

Using Blendspace for Differentiation

Tiered Instruction Blendspace

Other Tech Tools

Rewordify allows the user to simplify the wording of a text to help improve comprehension, increase vocabulary and track progress.

Blog Post & Video Example - Physics
Vocaroo allows you to create voice recordings and send them through email. No need to install any software! (WEB)
Google Slides is one of the collaborative tools available from Google. Students can create online, collaborative presentations and collaborate with other people in real time.
eMaze - A nice site that is a cross between Prezi and PP that allows users to zoom around their presentation. Best of all, a finished presentation can be embedded into a site.
Blabberize - Upload a picture, create a mouth, on the photo and then record your voice to make your character speak. (WEB)Chatterpix - Make your photos, friends, pets or drawings talk. Take a photo, draw a line to make a mouth and record your voice and then share with your friends and family. Very creative way for students to introduce themselves. (APP)
PhotoSpeak - Works like Chatterpix. (APP)
MIxbook EDU - Students can create customizable photo books for free. Parents can view the photo books and can even purchase a hardback copy. (WEB)
Ordering Food in Spanish for Dummies
World War I
Famous Americans
Geometry Scrapbook
Book Creator for iPad - Create ebooks on your iPad that you can easily share with other.

4 Compelling Ideas for Using Book Creator in the Classroom

Math Riddles

Ancient Egyptians

Website Creation Tools

Google Sites (WEB)
Weebly for Education (WEB)
Wix (WEB)

More Resources

Response: Ways to Use Tech to Differentiate Instruction (Part 1) from Education Week Teacher

Response: 'Embracing Technology' as a Tool for Differentiation from Education Week Teacher

How Can Technology Support Differentiation? -

Steven Anderson & Shaelynn Farnsworth: Meeting the Diverse Needs of Learners

Enhancing Learning Through Differentiated Technology - Excellent post from Edutopia.

Digital Differentiation with Google Classroom gives step-by-step directions for

differentiating assignments in Google Classroom from Kasey Bell, AKA Shake Up Learning.

5 ideas for using Google Classroom’s new differentiation and grouping feature from Matt Miller, author of Ditch that Textbook.

20 Whole Group Differentiation Techniques for ANY Grade from the Adventures of Room 129.

Google Slides: Choose Your Own Adventure by Alice Keeler

100+ Tools for Differentiating Instruction Through Social Media - from Edutopia

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